Animating Dreams: The ACME Animation Program

Animating Dreams: The ACME Animation Program


>>Hi, Lennie and John.>>These students from Birmingham,
Alabama and Los Angeles, California, are collaborating with their
professional heroes on live TV.>>Well we had some
questions on this, Lennie, because he’s getting comments. We kinda wanted to get
your take on it, okay?>>Part of an innovative
program called Acme Animation, this twice a month teleconference
offers students instant feedback on their animation projects from
some of the top pros in the business.>>This is something we used to
keep in mind at Disney a lot. If we had a character like this, a side view could show
that really nicely. Now–>>The Acme Animation
program was founded in 1996. Teacher Dave Master
realized that the evolution of new technologies could transform
the teaching of the art form. But his initial efforts
met with resistance.>>We came into schools that
didn’t have computer technology and if they did have it, they
didn’t wanna use it for the arts. They were using it
in computer classes. The arts have been considered
a frill, even though arts and entertainment is the
second largest export of the United States right now, and it’s a multi multi billion
dollar industry, and that there are so many jobs and so many
ancillary fields in the arts.>>Okay, wow, we’re really
impressed by your clear poses. Made us laugh over here. That’s great. And usually, that’s the hard part–>>What we’re really trying to
do is get kids to understand that there are many
ways to communicate. There are studies that show
from eighty to ninety percent of most people’s information
comes off of screens, whether it be computer screens
or TV screens or movie screens. We’re trying to get kids to
not just be consumers of that, but to be educated consumers of
that kind of material, and also, at the same time, creators
of their own material.>>We weren’t sure if we
should add something.>>Narrator: Every other
Tuesday, Acme mentors gather at various studio sites and
are connected to schools across the country via
teleconferencing gear that includes digital projectors and
laptops to run animation sequences.>>Okay, you’re gonna
have to make that clear so the audience will understand
it, because you don’t want–>>We have principles in animation that over the last 200 years have
been developed, that enable a student if they learn them, to better
convey their creative ideas. To learn these principles takes time,
so it goes from a bouncing ball, which has about 80 percent of all
the physical principles and timing that a student will ever have to
learn in their entire history, and it’s all wrapped up in that
little ball, bouncing and squashing and stretching, with inertia
at the top, and slowing down, decreasing speed, increasing speed. All of the things that they’re
gonna do when they create characters in whole films are all wrapped
up in that little bouncing ball that they learned in the
beginning when they start. So the design principles and
the composition principles and the principles of
good storytelling, music, are all brought into animation.>>To progress in the course, Acme
students must demonstrate their grasp of basic animation principles in
exercises like the bouncing ball, the leaf drop, and the brick fall.>>This is very good. That’s excellent. Another thing you might do
is have the brick teeter at the top before it falls. See, what you do in
animation is, you set people up for what they’re about to see. Then you give them what
you set them up for.>>Since not every new animation
student can participate in live teleconferences, Acme
has adapted their mentoring model to the web.>>And the student will put their file
in here, and they do a little bit of an explanation about
what they were trying to do.>>Now anyone anywhere in the world
can upload their work and get answers to their specific questions.>>And she wants to know, are the
poses and timing working well? And, you know, what
else should she fix?>>Jennifer Cardon Klein
learned animation in one of Dave Master’s high school classes. Now, as a professional
animator and mentor, she’s helping others
along the career path.>>What do you think
about the overlap that–>>Animation really is a craft and unless you have a
mentor student relationship, you really cannot fully
learn that craft. And that’s how I learned my craft. That’s how all the best animators
that I know and best film makers that I know learned their craft. So for me to get in the position
as a mentor and be able to pass on what I know to a student
is incredibly rewarding.>>I actually give them a
step by step kind of guide as to how they might be
able to fix their own scene.>>In addition to written responses, mentors like James Lopez can
upload their own sketches.>>You know, animation
is such a visual medium. You can’t really just type out
what you wanna convey in text.>>You have to do it
visually, I think. So I will actually, you know,
draw it all out, you know, as simple as I can do it. And, you know, it’s like they say,
a picture says a thousand words.>>Lennie: Harry, this right
here is just a little polishing that you have to do.>>To get exposure to professionals
that can tell you the reason things that happen, that can
express the potentials and the principles
behind things happening. If I had something like
that when I was a child, it would have meant the world to me.>>I’m privileged to actually
have someone that’s working with Walt Disney and other
companies like Warner Brothers and all those cool companies,
to actually take their time out and help us with our artwork. And it’s actually helping me
in my science class as well, the bone structures and different
types of bones we have to learn.>>Okay, so you’re showing
us your character designs?>>Yeah.>>Now the type of character
you’ve got there, kind of like a high school bad boy, he’s going to put all his
weight on one leg, right? Probably cross his arms,
cock his head to one side and give us a little
bit of an attitude.>>Narrator: Educators see
benefits of the Acme program that go beyond learning how to draw.>>If it looks like this, a circle–>>They seem to do better when
they know they’re preparing work that professional people will take
a look at and give them comment on. So it’s very helpful
in the classroom. Also, working toward deadline,
in their personal lives, I think that it’s really
affected them, that the know the urgency
of a deadline. It’s matured them in that sense,
that they know, “When I put my work out here, this represents me.”>>Tilt it this way a little bit. There you go. All right.>>I think any time a kid is
interested in something at school, there’s some draw for him, that he
or she really wants to be a part of, I think they start taking a
little bit more responsibility for their own action. They show a little
bit more initiative. They don’t wanna miss school and
they develop their language skills, their technology skills,
even their math skills. And sure, that has
a spill over effect.>>We have students doing
mathematics projects. We have students doing historical
projects, literature projects.>>Animation is a vehicle to
get across the major ideas, the big ideas of our
civilization, of our world.>>Okay, we’ll go to Carver
High School in Alabama.>>We have made it possible that a professional can
spend a few minutes a week to actually mentor a kid,
somewhere, in a distance city, who had the same dream they did and who has no opportunity
without that mentorship. And really, that’s the magic
of this new technology.>>For more information on what works in public education
go to edutopia.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *